Sunday, August 9, 2009


Since my post on our trip to the Antiques Roadshow, I have had some requests for more information about our Indian baskets. The basket on the left is Jicarilla Apache and dates from c. 1920 and the basket on the right is Western Apache and is from c. 1910.

The Western Apache basket is 13 1/2" tall and from my mother's side of the family. It is jar-shaped (olla) and probably made of sumac or willow. My grandmother with her parents made a road trip from Colorado to southern California when she was a young girl. A road trip in the early 1900s was quite an excursion, and my grandmother had a strong recollection of the trip. Her parents got this basket on the trip, and my grandmother's keepsake was a beautiful, large shell from the beach.

I remember this basket at my great-grandparent's house sitting by the back door next to a chair. My great-grandfather kept his clean, rolled up socks in it. He would sit in the chair each morning to put on his shoes and socks before going outside to farm. When the basket came to live at my grandmother's house, she kept it in the kitchen, also, and stored her clean little plastic margarine tubs in it for future use.

One time I was visiting my grandmother in Kansas and we were sitting there eating breakfast. She asked me what I wanted for Christmas. Jokingly, I told her, "The basket!" When we got ready to return to Colorado, she came out to the car with the basket, "Take it now, so I won't have to mail it." I was thrilled beyond belief!! At a later time, she also gave me her precious shell.

The large basket with the lid is 17" tall and came to me through my dad's side of the family. It is Jicarilla Apache from Chaco Canyon in New Mexico and dates from the 1920s. It was probably made specifically for trade to the whites for use as a clothes hamper, which is what my family used it for.

During the 1920s, my grandfather was in partnership with Edward Sargent of Chama, New Mexico in the sheep and cattle ranching business. At one time, they ran sheep and cattle on 15,000 acres of ranch land in southern Colorado. Mr. Sargent was also associated with the Chaco Canyon Trading Post, where this basket came from. In my paternal grandparent's home, I remember there were several Indian blankets and rugs with this basket. After my grandparents were gone, this basket was in my bachelor uncle's home. I simply told him one day that after he was through with the basket, I would love to have it. He gave it to me on the spot.

The colors of the interior of the basket are still very strong, but on the outside the dyes have faded.

Some day, I hope my children will also treasure these two baskets.


Lynne (lynnesgiftsfromtheheart) said...

Sally, these are absolutely gorgeous. What treasures you have to go along with such beautiful memories. I hope your childrend will cherish them as much as you do. hugs ~lynne~

Shelia said...

Evening, Dear Sally! Oh, what a wonderful story! These baskets are so beautiful! I just love it when you tell us these stories of your life. I'll bet your family will always cherish them.
Be a sweetie,

Shelia :)

Kammy said...

Hi Sally !
What a neat history on the baskets..make sure to copy it down, laminate it and place it maybe inside the bottom of each of the baskets...that way the stories are never lost....I wish everything we found came that way.. Just this week I was looking at dishes and wondering who,what and where....
Very cool - love history !
p.s. Yes, come up to FTC - we got great thrifts !

Pat@Back Porch Musings said...

What an absolutely amazing post, Sally. The baskets are gorgeous, the history, extra special. I love this!!

SmilingSally said...

I love the idea of copying this post and placing a copy into each basket for the future recipient to find. Thanks for elaborating.

xinex said...

Gorgeous baskets. When hubby worked in Gallup, NM, I used to admire so many handmade Indian baskets there and they were very expensive. I can imagine how expensive yours are....Christine

laurie @ bargain hunting said...

Sally, I love the story of your grandmother bringing that treasured basket to your car. They are such beautiful art, and even more beautiful because they have wonderful memories attached to them. I am so glad you shared these stories about them. laurie

Anonymous said...

Sally your treasures always have such wonderful stories behind them! Mine - just come from thrift stores!

I ended up making an appointment for an ENT there in Pueblo as my throat just does not seem to be healing from when the breathing tube came out sooner than it should (shame on me!). I go Friday- am sure hoping I will be able to sing again- I might be making a "joyful noise" for the rest of my time here if not!

I have birthday funds and am ready to shop if I can get up some energy!


Zoey said...

Hi Sally,
What wonderful family treasures you have. I loved hearing how they had been used by each family caretaker.
Great post.

Lynne (lynnesgiftsfromtheheart) said...

Good morning my dear friend, Thanks for swinging in for a visit. You are so right, with each picture I take and a smile is on the other side my heart sings as loud as the heavenly angels sing.. I hope this finds things going well your way... hugs ~lynne~

Chari said...

Mornin' Sally...

Oh my...I see that I have some catching up to do over at your place...sorry that I've missed these posts!

Love seeing your beautiful heirloom baskets again! They really are gorgeous...I love the different weave patterns! I especially like the Jicarilla Apache basket with the pretty colors! What sweet family memories you have of these beautiful pieces!!! Enjoyed hearing about them, my friend!!!

Warmest wishes,